Uniting in prayers for Vietnam as COVID spreads

We need prayers for Vietnam because COVID is spreading throughout our country. Since May, people have been forced to self-isolate, and travel is restricted. When people and families are not allowed to go out, when companies and factories close, it means that the income of workers is also lost.

Two Good Shepherd Sisters, Rose, and Myriam volunteered to work directly with the local government and are delivering food and basic supplies to the poor and to people who live in quarantine zones. Because of their contact with numerous people in lockdown in Binh Tan and Binh Chanh districts, the Sisters live quarantined by themselves, away from the Good Shepherd community.

Prayers and donations are helping Vietnam

Besides that, to respond to the call and invitation from the Archbishop of Saigon, the other two Good Shepherd Sisters, Francesca, and Magdalena, also joined together in the group of 430 Sisters and Brothers from different Congregations on July 24. They are providing support to COVID patients in hospitals with the highest concentration of COVID infections.

They would like to bring hope and consolation to the patients. The religious set out to serve, with the belief that God is at work and a Healer.

The rest of the Sisters stay busy in the community, where they work with benefactors and other organizations to receive, sort, and distribute rice and other donated food and supplies to those in need.

Vietnam people sorting donations during COVID
Volunteers bag donations to distribute to people who are isolated and quarantined by COVID restrictions.

Saigon is the economic, political, and cultural center of Vietnam, where millions of workers make a living. The population density of Saigon is high. People are more concentrated here than in other provinces, which is what led to the large outbreak, with nearly 40,000 people infected. Making things worse, provinces throughout Vietnam are also becoming heavily infected from workers returning home to their provinces.

Following the government’s directive, the people of Saigon are in strict lockdown house to house, district to district, province to province.

Many areas are locked down, and workers’ lives have come to a halt. The rapid spread of the disease forced the government to issue a distance directive for 19 southern provinces to avoid further infection.

Coming together to support Saigon

All across Vietnam, parishes have come together to support Saigon during this challenging time. People in flood-prone regions of Vietnam, who are normally the recipients of emergency relief efforts, are now benefactors to the people of Saigon. Money raised has allowed the government and nonprofit agencies to buy and ship rice, fish, and other essential food items to Saigon to feed people and help them overcome other difficulties.

The normally crowded bus stations, airports, and wholesale markets in Saigon are deserted, absent of people. The only current activity seen in Saigon is the hospitals. Grief is being felt in every corner of the large city. And food prices are rising.

food donations being distributed to people quarantined by COVID
Volunteers load cargo vehicles with donated supplies for people who are in lockdown.

Still, in the midst of this great challenge, there are many young people and small groups of people who do not mind working long and hard hours in the middle of the night to distribute food to the homeless and the hungry.

There are landlords who are willing to reduce or waive rent for tenants. There are entrepreneurs, friends, and colleagues who donate their time to cook for people in isolated areas, for hospital patients, and for medical staff.

There are congregations, parishes, generous individuals and groups, and volunteers all acting as a bridge to distribute food to people regardless of religion. It seems that everyone in the country is watching Saigon with heavy love and humanity. People are not discriminating against one another because of religion.

These things not only bring comfort to Saigon during difficult times but also shine a light of hope for a bright Saigon ahead. We need your prayers for Vietnam.

Agnes Nguyen

Agnes Nguyen